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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    That's a fair question, but looking at the Waking Up list, I don't anticipate a lot of overlap. The only one that I see a strong likelihood of repeating would be This Is Martin Bonner. Looking for instance at the Kurosawa choices for the Waking Up list, I would hope that Red Beard and Ikiru (though a perennial favorite here) would not make the list, since there are much better examples of his work that fit the Growing Older theme better. Other films on the Waking Up list - Spirited Away, The Truman Show, the 3 Malicks, Fearless, Close Encounters, Punch Drunk Love - don't seem a good fit for the Growing Older theme either. Just my two cents...
  2. Andrew

    The "About Image" Forum

    "Literature" sounds like the best fit to me.
  3. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    The more I think about this topic, the more enamored I am with exploring it. Politics and truth vs. untruth so dominate the news that I'm withdrawing my earlier suggestion. Considering a subject that isn't mandated by international dread will be rather welcome, personally. Here are some possible films that could go on such a list: - Agnes Varda's late films, including her most recent Visages Villages, have much to do with integrating her youthful memories into her aging self. Her bond with JR shows that she is both forward- and backward-looking in a healthy and utterly charming manner. - While I'm thinking of the French New Wave, this one is cheating a little bit since it's still in the first half of the life cycle, but Truffaut's Antoine Doinel films show an emotionally stunted boy, who by film 5 is coming to terms with his mother's frailties and striving to break out of the repetition compulsion of love-infidelity-new love. - Just about any Ozu film seems ripe for the plucking here, with either healthy or unhealthy ways of aging. Late Spring comes immediately to mind, with Chishu Ryu accepting that he must nudge his daughter into her own separate life, even if he's left sadly peeling an apple in the dark. - Three late Kurosawa works are stellar examples of mature aging: Rhapsody in August, Madadayo, and Dreams - Some Wes Anderson films could work here, too, with the lessons learned by film's ends by Gene Hackman (Royal Tenenbaums), Bill Murray (Life Aquatic maybe, Moonrise Kingdom) and Frances McDormand (Moonrise Kingdom) - The two best films by Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty and Youth, are wonderfully late-stage Eriksonian in their explorations of the tension between generativity and stagnation, ego integrity and despair, with instances of both success and failure. - Probably some biographical documentaries could work here, too, such as the recent docs about Gorbachev (good example), Roger Ailes (bad), Jane Fonda (good), Spielberg (good), Fred Rogers (though he was born an elder and merely seemed to consolidate his strengths as he aged). Errol Morris also seems quite taken with profiling elderly folks reflecting and learning or not learning from their past, especially with regards to his docs about McNamara and Elsa Dorfman.
  4. Andrew

    Madeline's Madeline

    Wow, what a beautiful, unsettling, cathartic film! (The only weak spot for me was Miranda July's uneven performance.) As a shrink, this got my engine revving, since mental illness period but especially adolescent illness is so hard to do correctly onscreen. Though Madeline's illness isn't named in the film, I can't think of a better cinematic depiction of Borderline Personality Disorder ever. As I've reflected on this film over the past 24 hours, I'm impressed with the cohesive unity of this film, how its opening scene and spoken words perfectly inform its title and conclusion. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/01/madelines-madeline-a-teens-battle-for-selfhood/
  5. Andrew

    Madeline's Madeline

    Thanks for the feedback, Joel. One of my goals in my film writing lately has been to make my language more accessible when I veer into clinical territory, and it sounds like I succeeded here. That's an interesting question about Evangeline and Regina. Significantly, the film's opening words are something to the effect that Madeline's experiences/emotions are a metaphor. I may be wrong in my interpretation, but I presumed these two women are real; but given the intense subjectivity of the film, that Madeline's perception of them is highly selective. So, Regina may not be the wildly inconsistent mom that Madeline devalues; and Evangeline may not be the idealized leader who constantly lavishes praise and affection on Madeline. Such a rich film...
  6. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    I'm not familiar with Rohr, but I've found Erik Erikson's developmental stages invaluable in understanding the challenges of each decade of life. They've also enhanced my appreciation of great films that consider aging, with its pitfalls and successes (e.g., much of Ozu, Kurosawa from 1965 onward, The Great Beauty, etc.). I haven't read him in a while, but I also dug James Fowler's Stages of Faith, which builds on Erikson, Kohlberg's theories of moral development, and Piaget to look at how religiosity and spirituality can evolve across a lifespan. If we decide to do a Top 25 films on aging, I only hope that it doesn't end up largely being a coming of age list; my personal hope is that it would focus much more upon the second half of life. Given humanity's inherent tendency to look back wistfully on lost youth as a part of growing older, and our own culture's tendency to idolize youthfulness, I think this could be a strong temptation. Because of these twin pulls, my own impression is that films addressing the second half of life receive far less of the spotlight. A Top 25 list could be our own small effort to remedy this imbalance.
  7. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    I was definitely thinking more along the lines of Rob's response, that is, films that have something important to say about growing older (especially into the second half or final few decades of life), not just films with a prominent older character.
  8. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    Of course, it'll all wash out in the voting, but I feel similarly about Coming of Age as a theme. Though A&F hasn't done it, nonetheless it feels as though it's been done enough elsewhere. However, I think a Top 25 films on Growing Older could be quite interesting. Perhaps it's my own narcissism at hitting the big 5-0 last year, but also realizing that many of us here have aged together over 15+ years, this topic holds a strong appeal. Additionally, given our current cultural climate, I would find something akin to Honesty in a Time of Lies stimulating. Though I'm a non-Christian, at least in America, I think the survival and credibility of the church are currently on the line, given the alliance of evangelicalism's major powerbrokers with the most dishonest president in our country's history. Too divisive a topic perhaps, but it would be interesting.
  9. Andrew

    2019 Reading Journals

    January Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight - about 250 pages longer than it needed to be, but still an essential read on the most historically significant black American of the 19th Century
  10. Andrew

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    Yeah, a Top 100 in 2020 has a nice ring to it (with a companion book, too!). I also think some time for A&F to gather momentum this year on a smaller project, i.e. a Top 25, is not a bad idea.
  11. Please share them here - I always love comparing notes. Here's my list: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2018/12/the-best-films-of-2018/
  12. Andrew

    Film Club January 2019: Pather Panchali

    Same here, once the kids are back in school.
  13. I'm awed by Obama's Best of 2018 list; he's quite the cinephile! (Of course, I can't help but compare him to the current squatter in the Oval Office, whose tweets about TV and books exclusively concern how they praise or spout fake news about him.) http://www.openculture.com/2018/12/president-obama-names-his-favorite-books-movies-songs-of-2018.html?fbclid=IwAR02LdRbAVS0ZHshBu0lSCZ1vaACzOcB9Cj2iDXovF1SjjzJ5CTJ9X5EHKM
  14. So, I'll get this party started. From the New York Times, here are A.O. Scott's and Manohla Dargis' lists: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/movies/best-movies.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Movies
  15. Andrew


    Be forewarned, this is a disturbing film to watch, but its spiritual themes are fascinating: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2018/06/hereditary-the-horrifying-potential-of-biological-and-spiritual-inheritance/
  16. Andrew

    Free Solo

    I rather liked Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's Meru, from 2015, but I feel they've bettered themselves with their newest film. Following climber Alex Honnold's effort to be the first to climb Yosemite's El Capitan alone and without ropes, it has the splendid photography and suspense of their first joint effort, but Free Solo adds deeper characterization and psychological insight. I didn't want to publicly diagnose someone I've never met, so I didn't state this explicitly in my review, but I'm pretty sure Honnold is on the Asperger's spectrum, so the film is not only about his climb, but about his efforts at emotional intimacy with his girlfriend. The two are very nicely melded, and one can't help but root for him on both counts. This is my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2018/11/free-solo-is-a-welcome-burst-of-humanistic-uplift/
  17. Andrew

    Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

    Or "the person who loves him," to include Freddie Mercury in this, and for inclusivity's sake. Maybe it was a case of lowered expectations, but I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody. The plot was formulaic, and much of the dialogue rote, but the performances were excellent, and the re-creations of song creation and the concerts were contagious. For these latter reasons, I'll take this over the ABBA musical #2 or another superhero flick (Spiderverse possibly excepted) any day. One of my acquaintances who has been a lifelong Queen fanatic did say the script took enormous liberties with the band's actual history, and I am baffled by the exaggerated dental prosthesis that Malek used, which seemed disproportionate next to the film images of Mercury over the closing credits. So there are those difficulties, too...
  18. My wife and I saw it at TIFF last year and loved it, but FWIW, I don't recall any overt faith element to it.
  19. Andrew

    Destroyer (2018)

    With the nods to faith that you mention, Christian, I think there's a case to be made that the writers/director were pointing to missed opportunities for reformation/rebirth. The film is fresher in my mind, having seen it last night, so the Bible study invite was made by a former supervisor that Kidman's character never saw again; and the pastor wasn't compromised, he was actually sheltering a guy who was attempting to make amends for his past misdeeds.
  20. Andrew

    Destroyer (2018)

    Has anyone else seen this? I could see it being of interest to those on the Ecumenical Jury, as it's the most Dostevskian film I've seen in a while, embodying the famous Karamazov line about "if no God, then everything is permitted." A couple of times during the film, the main criminal is heard to say "nobody is watching" (or something like that) as everything goes to shit around Nicole Kidman's undercover FBI agent. Besides that, it's probably the best suspense film I've seen this film, a genre that generally bores me. Kidman's performance is splendid, and she's almost unrecognizable in her 'present day' makeup - she looks convincingly wrecked, like many a late-stage alcoholic I've treated. And Bradley Whitford is fun as usual - how his typecasting has changed from his days playing idealistic Josh on The West Wing, now playing characters for whom the word smarmy seems to have been invented.
  21. Andrew

    Consolidating Film Forums

    Since they come up in a search regardless, I'm for a laissez faire approach.
  22. Andrew

    Three Identical Strangers (2018)

    Yeah, the lack of consent and outright deceit involved in the children's placement and the ongoing study posit this firmly in the unambiguously unethical category. As a mental health professional, I found this reveal appalling. Institutional review boards (IRBs) now routinely review study designs at the university or hospital level, and there's no way this study would pass muster nowadays. In my ethics class in med school, we learned about past horrors like the Tuskegee syphilis experiments. I wouldn't be surprised if this study finds its way into such classes. As a documentary, however, I found this film unimpressive. About 1/3 of it felt repetitive, and the film's structure after the first 30 min or so was amateurish. I'm surprised it has such a high numbers on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
  23. Andrew

    A better film about...

    Haven't seen The Wife yet, but I found Colette to be quite engrossing, though its hagiographic tendencies are highly problematic. Boy Erased is a better conversion therapy film than The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Beautiful Boy > Ben Is Back, on addressing the havoc that addiction plays in the lives of young addicts and the families who care about him.
  24. Andrew


    Two reports would seem reasonable, just to prevent a single person from wreaking havoc.
  25. Andrew

    Beautiful Boy (2018)

    Though at least in this film's case, this aspect of the story (David Sheff's openness with his son about his drug use) was true to the source material. But otherwise, your point is well-taken.